There are some drives that are relatively inconsequential, mere passages of time and space to get you to your destination, where life happens. There are some drives though where it feels like you’ve really journeyed, really gone through the changing landscape of the land and witness the changes that Mother Nature sprinkles and stitches into the landscape.
Driving to Alabama from Ohio feels like a cultural shift, feels like a geographic shift, feels like you’re in a slightly different universe. It might sound like I’m exaggerating, I mean it’s just Alabama for crying out loud, but when you start seeing fields of cotton, beaten down rusted pickup trucks congregating at dusty gas stations, and the ever slight sweetness to the air- it’s as if the air has thawed in the Southern sun and is just a little easier on the intake. Whatever it is, these changes creep up on you. You have to pass through Louisville, which feels familiar, and then you reach Nashville, which is the tip of the Southern iceberg. Once you hit Alabama you’re ready for the changes, and the warmth of the sun on your face.
The drive back, I don’t know if it’s because I myself am exhausted after having slept for a paltry six hours (I really love to get enough sleep), but the drive back is an exercise in patience. Breathe enough, get enough gas, wait, and eventually you’ll cover enough miles and zip backwards back into Winter’s cocoon.
The show itself was in a small black box theater, wider than it was long, and had very clear acoustics, if not dry. The quality of the equipment was first class, and a baby grand piano sat off the side of the stage, adding a dramatic elegance to the space. We played well to a crowd of… perhaps thirty tepid Alabamians. They turned out not to be so tepid after all once we got to know them. We got a standing ovation, and they made us promise to return. We’ll be back in Alabama in April, and I can’t wait.